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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 160907 Find in a Library
Title: Sentence Indication Scheme Evaluation
Author(s): D Weatherburn; E Matka; B Lind
Corporate Author: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 39
Sponsoring Agency: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Publication Number: ISBN 0-7310-6469-0
Sale Source: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Level 8, St James Centre
111 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000,
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This study examines the impact of the New South Wales (NSW) Sentence Indication scheme on methods of case disposal, delays for cases finalized on a plea of guilty, sentencing practice, and the rate at which defendants plead guilty at committal.
Abstract: The New South Wales District Court has for some time been having problems with trial court delay. To address this problem, the NSW Parliament passed temporary legislation that allows the Chief Judge of the NSW District Court to introduce a Sentence Indication scheme. The scheme provides for an accused person committed for trial in the NSW District Court to seek an indication of the sentence that would be imposed if a guilty plea were entered. The intent of the scheme is to obtain earlier pleas of guilty and more pleas of guilty. Data for the assessment of the scheme were obtained from each of several courts before and after the implementation of the scheme in those courts. Findings show that the scheme has not encouraged either earlier or more frequent guilty pleas. Only one court exhibited any sign of a reduction in the number of matters proceedings to trial, and that effect was transient. Court delays for cases in which an accused person committed for trial changed his/her plea to guilty were found to be lower after the introduction of the scheme than before the scheme. The decline, however, began before the introduction of the sentence indication scheme and did not appear to accelerate after its implementation. The scheme also had an unintended consequences. Apparently those who accepted a sentence indication were sentenced with the same, if not more, leniency than those who pled guilty at committal. This report concludes that there is little justification for continuing with the sentence indication scheme. 20 figures, 13 tables, and appended NSW District Court registries
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Court case flow; Court case flow management; Foreign sentencing statistics; New South Wales; Plea negotiations; Sentencing trends
Note: From the Legislative Evaluation Series.
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